Clara Paulino Miami Shores dies trapped in husband Aristide’s SUV police cruiser. Temperatures soared into the 90’s.
The wife of a Florida cop died after getting trapped inside her husband’s police SUV as temperatures outside soared into the 90s on Friday.
Clara Paulino‘s fingerprints were found all over the interior of the Ford Explorer following the incident outside their Miami Shores home Friday, the Miami Herald reported.
‘Clearly, she was panicked and trying to get out,’ a law-enforcement source told the media outlet.
Paulino, 56, apparently climbed into the back seat while looking for something, then got trapped there by the door’s latching mechanism, which prevents it from being opened from the inside – as is customary of police SUV vehicles.
NBC Miami reported the SUV having a cage that separates the back seat from the front seat along with bars on the windows. The SUV’s doors lock and can only be opened from the outside.
Trapped in a virtual jail cell in soaring temperatures
Paulino wasn’t carrying a cellphone and a safety partition prevented her from reaching over the front seat to honk the horn for help.
‘It’s literally a cage,’ one Miami cop said of the patrol vehicle’s rear seat.
‘Horrible, horrible, horrible, imagine someone, that happening to someone,’ neighbor Daphne Steward told NBC Miami. ‘She loved her family and her children and I believe it’s just an unfortunate situation.’
Paulino’s husband, Aristides Paulino, who’s been a Miami cop for 25 years, was asleep in their home following a midnight shift when the tragedy unfolded Friday afternoon.
Aristides, 58, and the couple’s son found Clara’s body around 5:30 p.m. — as many as four-and-a-half hours after she got trapped.
It’s unclear why she went into the SUV, which her husband left unlocked in their driveway when he returned home and went straight to bed late Friday morning, sources told the Herald.
Investigators were treating Clara’s death as a ‘freak accident’ but it remained under investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Homicide Bureau. The actual cause of death was not announced – but was suspected of being a hot car death.
‘It’s very preliminary,’ a police spokesman, Lt. Carlos Rosario, told the Herald.
‘There’s still a lot of work to be done. But right now, it’s an unclassified death.’
Aristides and Clara Paulino married 38 years ago.
Their son, also named Aristides, told the Herald that the family didn’t want to discuss her death.
‘We haven’t even buried her yet and it’s a lot [of] pain,’ he said.